School board elections are taking place in several municipalities around Hudson County today, with polls open from 2 pm until 8 pm. Residents will be electing school trustees and voting on budgets.
In Weehawken, there is also a ballot question on a bond referendum for capital improvements district-wide.
An email sent to residents from the Theodore Roosevelt School PTA states, “The referendum is not only focused on the construction needed at Woodrow Wilson School but also on critical repairs on the three other schools, Daniel Webster School, Theodore Roosevelt School, and Weehawken High School, which need health and safety upgrades. The schools are severely in need of new roofs, upgrades to multipurpose rooms (gymnasium and cafeteria), heating systems, and additional security measures.”
In a letter sent to residents by Superintendent of Schools Eric Crespo dated March 13, 2023, Crespo states, “An application to the State of New Jersey’s Department of Education was submitted in October 2022 and recently received approval. To obtain the available state funding, the application must be submitted to the state for final approval. As a result of this approval, the state will be providing 40% of the funding needed to complete projects in our three existing schools. Our Woodrow Wilson project will be receiving financial assistance from our township government by providing 21% of the total cost of the project. The funding provided by the state is available now but cannot be guaranteed in the future. We need to secure this funding now.”
The district is urging the public to pass the bond referendum today in order to bring the school buildings up to standard.
The total proposed bond for the district is $18.7 million, with the cost breakdown by school as follows:
- Woodrow Wilson $12.5 million
- High School $3.4 million
- Theodore Roosevelt $1.4 million
- Daniel Webster $1.4 million
The district has to bond for the full amount, with state aid reimbursement totaling $2.1 million, leaving the district’s responsibility at $16.6 million. The cost of the new bonds would be partially offset by previously passed bond issues. They would be completely paid off by the time of the new bond issue.
If voters approve today’s bond referendum for district-wide capital improvements, the Board of Education will bond in the upcoming summer and obtain the state aid. Construction upgrades would commence this summer with a two to three year completion timeline.
Weehawken would then implement its reorganization plan in 2025 when Woodrow Wilson School is projected to reopen with grades 1, 2 and 3. Webster would house pre-k 3 and pre-k 4, plus kindergarten. Roosevelt would house grades 4, 5 and 6, with Weehawken High School having grades 7 through 12.
Wilson, Roosevelt and the High School would expand its STEAM program with increased student capacities.
Today’s election in Weehawken sees 3 candidates seeking 3 board trustee seats.